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20 May, 2024
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AI pioneer regrets contribution to field, quits Google over concerns

Dr. Geoffrey Hinton’s research led the way for current systems like ChatGPT

Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, often called the "godfather" of artificial intelligence (AI), has resigned from Google, citing concerns about the potential dangers of AI and its impact on the job market. Hinton, who is 75 years old, is renowned for his work on building a neural net in 2012, which has paved the way for current AI systems like ChatGPT.

In an interview with the New York Times, Hinton said that he quit Google to speak more freely about the risks of AI and expressed some regret for his contribution to the field. He was hired by Google 10 years ago to help develop the company's AI technology. Until last year, he believed that Google was a "proper steward" of the technology, but his views changed once Microsoft started incorporating a chatbot into its Bing search engine, and Google began to worry about the risks to its search business.

Hinton expressed concerns about the possibility of AI chatbots becoming more intelligent than humans and being exploited by "bad actors." He said that the kind of intelligence being developed is very different from human intelligence, and it could lead to people being unable to discern what is true online anymore. AI-generated photos, videos, and text are already flooding the internet, and Hinton fears that the situation will only worsen in the future.

Moreover, Hinton believes that AI will eventually replace jobs like paralegals, personal assistants, and other "drudge work." He warns that AI could potentially replace many more jobs in the future, which could have significant consequences for the job market. IBM CEO Arvind Krishna has predicted that up to 30% of the company's back-office roles could be replaced by AI and automation within five years. Hiring in areas such as human resources will be slowed or suspended, resulting in around 7,800 roles being replaced, according to Krishna.

The Guardian has reported that online AI voice synthesizers were able to bypass a voice authentication system used by Services Australia, which raises concerns about the viability of voice biometrics for authentication. Toby Walsh, the chief scientist at the University of New South Wales' AI Institute, advises people to question any online media they see now, including audio and video, as it's becoming increasingly difficult to tell what is real and what is not.

Google's chief scientist, Jeff Dean, thanked Hinton for his contributions to the company over the past decade and said that Google is committed to a responsible approach to AI. However, Hinton's departure highlights concerns about the potential risks of AI and its impact on society. As AI continues to develop rapidly, it is crucial that we consider the potential risks and benefits and take steps to ensure that AI is developed responsibly and ethically.

[Information from The Guardian]

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